Over the past few months, Ghanaians have raised concerns over mobile money fraud. Often, such frauds emanate from misuse of SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards. This is one crime that the re-registration of SIM cards in Ghana will solve. The government of Ghana has made a directive for the re-registration of all SIM cards. Starting from January 2020 to June 2020, the country will carry out this exercise. Communication minister, Ursula-Ekuful, said that failure to re-register the SIM cards will lead to deactivation of the numbers. He also added that the process helps identify subscribers properly, track down the criminal and find out subscribers with fake identities. “The ministry has consulted all relevant stakeholders and hereby announces that from 1st January 2020, we will all be required to re-register our sim cards. Any Simcard which is not registered will be deactivated by 2020.
“We entreat all citizens, residents, and visitors to cooperate with us to ensure the success of this exercise for our collective security. “
Benefits of SIM re-registration
The success of this exercise will contribute to the growth of the economy. For the benefit of broadening financial inclusion, the re-registering of SIM cards in Ghana can never be overlooked. The NCA (National Communications Authority) has announced that the Ghana card will be used for the exercise. At the moment, Ghanaian citizens are registering and being issued with Ghana cards. The National Identification Authority (NIA) will be responsible for this exercise which started on April 29, 2019, and is expected to end on March 31, 2020.
Nana Badue, the head of NCA, Consumer and Corporate Affairs, sensitized sim card users on the re-registration. She advised them to ensure that their original names appear on the card during the re-registration. Otherwise, it will be a big offense to see vendors’ names on the cards. She also warned the subscribers from giving their numbers to unknown people. This is because they attract unsolicited communications with strangers. At the end of it all, their security is at risk because they can’t help when fraud happen.
What triggered the re-registration move?
The SIM Registration Regulations, 2011 (L.I 2006), states the reasons for this moves as follows;
First off, the government needs to reduce mobile phone crimes such as prank calls, cybercrimes, mobile money fraud, and general insecurity. Also, the existing rules on SIM registration have some deficiencies. For example, the selling of pre-registered SIM cards, using pre-registered cards and fraudulent registration of such sim cards.
“Even though the SIM registration regulations are still in force, it is not being enforced due to the lack of an acceptable, fake proof identification card, and non-existence of verification by a national database to ensure the traceability of the individual who registered the SIM card,” said the minister.
Some network operators hire incompetent agents to register SIM cards. As a result, they pre-register SIM cards in bulk which they later sell to unknown customers. The reason is their greed to earn more commission. Reports received from some subscribers indicate that some agents registered SIM cards without taking their ID details. Others present a valid ID for registration but later checks indicate that their SIMs are registered in other peoples’ names. Similarly, some subscribers were given an option by the agents to either buy a pre-registered sim card or queue for registration. Of course, the subscribers chose to take the pre-registered cards to save time. Re-registration of sim cards in Ghana is seeking to end such scenarios.